Devices for overcoming biological barriers: The use of physical forces to disrupt the barriers

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Overcoming biological barriers including skin, mucosal membranes, blood brain barrier as well as cell and nuclear membrane constitutes a key hurdle in the field of drug delivery. While these barriers serve the natural protective function in the body, they limit delivery of drugs into the body. A variety of methods have been developed to overcome these barriers including formulations, targeting peptides and device-based technologies. This review focuses on the use of physical methods including acoustic devices, electric devices, high-pressure devices, microneedles and optical devices for disrupting various barriers in the body including skin and other membranes. A summary of the working principles of these devices and their ability to enhance drug delivery is presented.

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